Silver Ferns icon caught in Paris’ spell

Irene van Dyk reckons she “hit the jackpot” when she was asked to mentor Paris Lokotui

There’s certainly something special about this 17-year-old schoolgirl from Wellington, the Silver Ferns legend says. “She’s definitely going to go places.” In her final year at Queen Margaret College, Lokotui has already represented New Zealand in three different sports – basketball, netball and water polo. She’s nearing the stage where she may have to narrow it down to focus on just one sport. But, right now, she’s making it work. When you know her background, it comes as no surprise that Lokotui - who’s also a top academic student and deeply involved in Maori and Polynesian culture at school - seems to handle the load with ease. She’s grown up travelling the world with her rugby playing dad, Lua Lokotui. The Tongan lock, who went to two Rugby World Cups, also played for clubs in France, England and Japan before settling down with his family in Wellington.“We would go to his trainings and watch him play, so we were always exposed to that professional sporting environment,” Paris, the eldest of three siblings, says. She’s picked up her dad’s work ethic, too, and van Dyk sees all that experience coming through in her young mentee. Click the link to read more.